23 Songs For Today

August 26th, 2017

1. Everything That Touches You-    The Association
2.Never My Love-    The Association
3. Time To Get Alone-    The Beach Boys
4. We’re Together Again-    The Beach Boys
5. I Do-    The Beach Boys
6. Your Summer Dream-    The Beach Boys
7. Forever-    The Beach Boys
8. I Will-   The Beatles
9. First Of May-  Bee Gees
10. You’ve Touched Me-  Brian Wilson
11. Don’t Let Her Know She’s an Angel-  Brian Wilson
12. One Kind of Love-  Brian Wilson
13. Heaven -  Carl Wilson
14. For All We Know -  The Carpenters
15. We’ve Only Just Begun- The Carpenters
16. The Green Grass Starts To Grow-  Dionne Warwick
17. I Just Have To Breathe -  Dionne Warwick
18. Butterflies-  Kacey Musgraves
19. Symphony-   Marvin Gaye
20. Can’t Find the Time-    Orpheus
21. Your Valentine-    Saint Etienne
22. You Send Me-    Sam Cooke
23. Darlin’ -  The Beach Boys

Would It Be The Same Country If You Could Change Your Mind

August 17th, 2017

They’ve been gone too long, but they are back just at the right time. Lucky Soul’s last album was all of seven years ago, and we thought we may have lost them forever.  There has been a lot of personal and political water under the bridge in those seven years, a lot of it painful, and Lucky Soul’s response has been to take it to the dancefloor -just like in the uncertain 1970s where the disco was the escape from the turbulent reality.

Change gonna come, but it stays the same and I’m still waiting

Ali Howard sings this line on the brilliant disco stomper, Locked Out -she could be singing about the personal or the political, but she’s letting her tears out on the dancefloor, and this is where Lucky Soul’s new album resonates. (Hurts Like A) Bee Sting, seemingly the centerpiece of the album seems to be a response to Brexit in the catchphrase that headlines this post, but can also be a response to any sudden jolt to one’s reality. Stonewashed slows the pace down with a classic Lucky Soul ballad, while No Ti Amo is pop perfection.

Hard Lines -the new album released last week after the seven year hiatus -may not solve the world’s problems, but it resonates musically and lyrically in these times. Let’s just hope it’s not another seven years before the next one.

Farewell, Glen Campbell

August 9th, 2017

Image result for glen campbell Glen Campbell was not just an important part of the Beach Boys story; he was a major artist in his own right. His passing yesterday marks the end of a long goodbye, and ends a glittering career including over 70 albums, selling over 45 million records.

Brian Wilson fans will know him best as the singer of the brilliant Guess I’m Dumb as well as Brian’s temporary replacement in the touring Beach Boys. But he was a talented musician and member of the wrecking crew, a great singer and a showman who hosted his own television show. Musically, he may be best remembered as the interpreter of Jimmy Webb’s song, especially Wichita Lineman, often regarded as the perfect song, on which he also played guitar.

So 2017 sees the end of another era, as we say goodbye to Glen Campbell and cherish all the great musical memories he has made. Farewell, Glen Campbell

Stories From The Road 2

August 6th, 2017

After tonight, Brian’s European Pet Sounds tour will be over, but it seems like he is finishing on a critical and commercial high -with the odd dissenting view. But this Guardian  has high praise for the London show, and its resonance in these “interesting” times.

Stories From The Road

July 30th, 2017

No automatic alt text available. Brian is in Britain, for supposedly the last time at least for Pet Sounds, and the London Tube has been celebrating his show at the Apollo on 1 August -thanks Val Johnson-Howe for the spot on All On The Board.

Meanwhile, here is a five star review from the Liverpool Echo, celebrating Brian, the music , the band and the love everywhere in the room. m

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CL: Hawthorne Boulevard

July 26th, 2017

Image result for "hawthorne boulevard"

Hawthorne Boulevard is a short Brian Wilson-written instrumental that hearkens back both in the title and musically to the early days of the band -playing in a garage at home and listening to surf instrumentals. Seemingly only used for the 1967 Hawaii concerts which saw the original five playing together again, it has now seen official life on the Sunshine Tomorrow collection. While it by no means Brian’s greatest work,  it is short and sweet, with a lot of energy in the minute of music.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLIX: Here Comes The Night

July 20th, 2017

Image result for here comes the night beach boy

This song may be best known (or notorious) as the disco megamix on LA Light Album, but in it’s better incarnation, it was one of the R&B flavored originals that made Wild Honey such a breath of fresh air. Wild Honey saw the resumption of the Brian Wilson and Mike Love songwriting partnership, and the combination of music and lyrics works well, driven by Brian’s soulful late 60s voice. The disco mix dredged out all the original soul of the track, but as in many cases, the original is the best.

A Double Billboard

July 14th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpg The Billboard top 200 albums chart is graced by two Beach Boys albums this week -including the Sunshine Tomorrow compilation coming in at #145. If that still sounds a bit underwhelming, remember Sunflower only made #151 as it’s highest chart placing. While it may not match the Beatles impressive chart achievements this year in the light of Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary, the chart entries show that there is a demand for the Beach Boys, and especially for their much underrated post-SMilE 1967 work.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLVIII: Honey Get Home

July 12th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpg

If one needs any further evidence that Brian was still in a rich vein of creativity in post-SMiLE 1967, one just needs to look at the Wild Honey outtakes. Honey Get Home is clearly not fully-formed but has enough interesting moments to warrant further investigation. Remember these outtakes include Can’t Wait Too Long, Cool Cool Water and Time To Get Alone , and there is also the uncredited Lonely Days, which has possible Brian involvement.

The Beginning Of A New Era

July 7th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpgThose who have been following this blog over the past years will know that I am a big fan of the “transcendental era”, the period between the non-release of SMiLE and the Surf’s Up album -the period in which Brian was still a significant creative force but other band members also took up the creative baton and got more involved in the music-making.

The recently released double CD compilation Sunshine Tomorrow is an inviting in-depth look at the start of this era -the surprisingly creative late 1967 period when the Beach Boys seem to make up for the non-release of SMiLE by releasing not one, but two albums in the latter part of 1967. In addition, there was the planned but unreleased “live” Lei’d In Hawaii.

Of course, there wasn’t a clean break with SMiLE - most of the Smiley Smile songs originated from SMiLE, and bits and pieces of SMiLE drifted onto released records over the next four years. But there is a definite move towards simplicity, going back to musical basics and finding joy in nature and simple things.

The highlight of the collection is the new stereo mix of Wild Honey - an album that sounds more impressive as time passes by. The outtakes suggest that there was indeed a rich post-SMiLE creative vein from Brian and the others. The bonus is Lei’d In Hawaii - pretty much as close to what may have been released in 1967 and notable as a final live performance of the original five as a stand-alone band. Hearing the stripped down version of some of the greatest and most complicated songs from the band is a treat.

Overall, this is a fantastic treat and a reminder that 1967 was actually a pretty impressive year for Brian and Beach Boys-it may have taken 50 years for us to realise, but maybe they did hit that home run after all.